New York Speeding Ticket

NY Speeding Ticket

Speeding tickets can be confusing. There are a lot of boxes and other bits of information.

Below we take apart a typical NY speeding ticket piece by piece.
This is for upstate New York and some other parts of the state,
but New York City tickets are different.

If you want to know more about fines, see our New York Speeding Fines page.

The supporting deposition is at the bottom of this page.

We are lawyers who help with speeding tickets all over NY. Call us at (888) 752-3383,
or click *HERE*.

Here’s a NY speeding ticket:

ticket

First, let’s go down the left side. Here’s the top:

ticket-name

The upper left corner shows the ticket number. This one ends in SP, which generally means it was written by the State Police. To the right it shows the police agency, and indeed this was by New York State Police.

The boxes show various identifying information about the defendant – the person who is accused of speeding. In most cases there’s nothing significant here. We get asked questions from time to time whether a minor mistake means the case would get dismissed. Examples are having your name misspelled or the color of your car wrong. I doubt that will help.

However, we have had cases where mistakes here did matter. The most common one is where the officer mistakenly writes the ticket for the wrong person. We had one case where the name was the driver’s father, who was working at the time hundreds of miles and punched a clock on his job. That was dismissed.

Continuing down the left side, next is the “charge” portion of the ticket

ticket-charge

The time and date can be important. If they’re wrong, and you can prove you were somewhere else, that may help get a dismissal or get you a better deal. This problem is most likely to happen near midnight, because the officer may get the date wrong. Also, in rare cases they’ll get confused about AM vs. PM.

An important part for understanding your ticket is the section, type, description, and the speed. This ticket is for 1180(b), a traffic infraction, at 72 mph in a 55 zone. The 1180(b) is specifically for where the zone is 55, so the violation reads “Speed over 55 zone”. In other zones it will usually read “Speed in zone”, which is 1180(d). If it’s a work zone it will be 1180(f). For 1180(a), the speed may not be specified – that’s where the officer claims your speed was unsafe for some reason.

To the right there’s a box with two circles. One circle is labeled “Tr Inf”, which stands for traffic infraction – a violation. The second is labeled “Misd” for misdemeanor – a crime. In New York, speeding is always a violation. Some other traffic violations are misdemeanors, such as reckless driving and aggravated unlicensed operation.

In the middle of that part you see the place where it happened. This can be important. Occasionally an officer will write the ticket for the wrong town. In this case the ticket indicates that it happened on the Taconic State Parkway, southbound (s/b) in the Town of Chatham, Columbia County. In this particular incident that’s not a problem. But what if the highway listed is not in that town? The case should be dismissed for lack of “geographic jurisdiction.” We have won a few cases on that issue. There are other places on the ticket and supporting deposition that indicate locations. Make sure they match up.

The last point of interest here is the “Arrest Type” box. This one is listed as “1 – Patrol”. Generally this means the officer is basing the arrest on visual estimation of your speed. Type 2 is radar. L is for laser. Types 5 and 6 involve accidents, either with personal injury or property damage.

The last part of the left side is the court information:

court

This indicates the name of the court and its address, along with a date and time for a response, either by mail or in person.

This particular ticket is great because it shows one of the problems with traffic tickets in New York State. The address is a PO Box. How is the person supposed to find the Court if they want to appear in person?

For this reason, we created a directory of New York courts. The directory includes street addresses, phone numbers, maps and more for just about every traffic court in the state.

Another critical detail is the date. Once in a while we’ll see a ticket where the date is set for a holiday. Some attorneys feel that this is a fatal defect in the ticket, though you have to do certain things to follow that approach and it can be tricky.

Last and pretty much least, below is the right side of the ticket, where you choose your plea:

plea

If you’re pleading guilty, fill out Section A. If not guilty, fill out Section B. Don’t panic about the “48 hours” thing at the bottom. This rarely matters.

The Not Guilty section includes a spot for you to request a supporting deposition. For most speeding tickets in NY now, the supporting deposition is handed to you with the ticket. You can see that on this ticket — it indicates that one was issued to the driver for speeding. If none was issued to you, you can request one. If you request it properly and the officer does not provide it, you may be able to get the ticket dismissed (CPL § 100.40). Some lawyers advocate this as a strategy. Another view is that requesting the supporting deposition might make plea bargaining more difficult. We have seen cases where the client had requested one and the prosecutor refused to give as good of a deal because of this. It may not be right, but it is a risk.

Call us at (888) 752-3383,
or click *HERE*.

Supporting Deposition

Here’s the supporting deposition from the above NY speeding ticket:

supporting-deposition

And here’s a blow-up of the main part of it:

supp-dep-details

A couple things are notable. First, number 7 indicates the charge is based on “Direct Observation,” and then number 8 indicates the speed was verified by radar. This is roughly the same in almost every supporting deposition we see (though sometimes speed is verified by laser). If you remember from the ticket, the “Arrest Type” was “1 – Patrol”. This is consistent. For most tickets we see, the arrest type is either radar or laser. For these, it could be argued that number 7 is inconsistent with that arrest type. If the arrest type is radar, then the charge should be based on radar. However, a lot of judges will probably look at you cross-eyed if you raise this.

A bigger problem with this supporting deposition, and with many that we see, is that it doesn’t say anything more than the ticket. Criminal Procedure Law § 100.20 says that a supporting deposition should contain “factual allegations of an evidentiary character … which supplement those of the accusatory instrument … and support … the charge ….” This document doesn’t really provide much additional information. About the only new information is that the radar model is the Stalker Dual. The notation that the deposition was issued at the scene doesn’t support the charge. However, as with the first point, this argument may not be a winner with most judges. We have seen a few judges who do not follow the law.

The supporting deposition also includes what is known as a 710.30 notice, indicating any statements the defendant made that the prosecution intends to use:

710-30

Here the defendant stated “I’m running late for court. I think I was speeding.” The notice also indicates the date, time and place of the statement. In our experience the 710.30 notice rarely matters. If you were fighting the case, a statement like this would not help you. But if you’re trying to make a deal, I’ve never seen a prosecutor or judge care about the statement. We typically advise clients to go with that darn Fifth Amendment when questioned by police. My preferred line is: “My lawyer told me never to answer a question like that.”

That is a breakdown of a NY speeding ticket and supporting deposition. Of course, we recommend that people hire a lawyer to help with their speeding tickets in New York. We’re biased about that because that’s how we make our money. We really do believe it’s worth it in most cases, but sometimes it might not be and we’ll tell you straight up. A good example is an adult seatbelt ticket, because the fines are fairly low and they don’t have points (as of April 2011). In nearly all cases it’s not worth paying us $500 to handle those. Another reason to hire a lawyer is that you may end up going to Court more than once if you don’t know what you’re doing. With the recent change in VTL § 1806, you might even end up going three times.

Call us at (888) 752-3383,
or click *HERE*.

NY Speeding Ticket